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There seems to be quite a commotion regarding gender issues in relation to the great recession, as if the recession itself is not daunting enough. This movement, indeed, springs up from the emotions of feminists, proclaiming victory over the opposite sex. The great recession was, as a matter of fact, given another name: the “he-cession.”
In a June 2009 article by Reihan Salam from Foreign Policy entitled The Death of Macho, she extolled the end of men. She put the blame of the 2007 economic crisis on financial capitalism, which she patronizingly claims as the best the arrogant men could come up with. She has described men in general as with “aggressive risk-seeking behaviour... destructive and unsustainable in the globalized world” (1).
Clearly enough, men have suffered greatly from this change in the economic realm. With millions having been laid-off, the effect on everyone’s morale is deep and great at the least. It is said that men, more than women, have been affected on a far larger scale, due to a shift in the demands of jobs, from requiring “male” talents and attributes to that of the women’s. From industries largely dominated by men such as trucking, manufacturing, construction and real estate, a change over to the health and education sectors is happening, with regards to the volume of job opportunities. It is true that the post-recession world will never be the same as before. Compounded by globalization, bigger blows are expected to hurt the employment status of men.
Moreover, in the unprecedented post-economic crisis world, education is much more valued than brawn. Recently, men are lagging behind the women in school. As more females aspire for higher educational degrees, certainly for leverage in the economic ladder, the males become outnumbered as enrolees and outperformed in colleges and universities. Since then, women have stood up to the challenge, and have begun to gradually permeate the economic zone – from financial sectors to politics.
The reality, however, is the industry is still hugely dominated by men thus far. It is men that own the companies, decide who to promote, and who to hire and fire for that matter, as well as determine the amount of salary to be received. An unfortunate truth is men are dismissed from their work, while women are hired to take their place and do the same job, for a lesser pay. Indeed, comparing the same work outputs will receive different rates depending on whether a man or woman has done the work.
Those being said, it was premature for Salam to declare the end of macho. Men simply won’t hand it over to women that easily. But this should not be the real issue. It has never been the goal of feminism to become the dominant sex. Feminists do not gloat over their impressive achievements, thus far in the history of the women movement. Most of all, they do not rejoice at the expense of men. What they seek is just acknowledgement of their skills and capabilities and ultimately, equality, be it in the workplace, at home, in school or in politics.
The clear problem here is stereotyping genders. Who says men can’t become excellent nurses and teachers? Who says women can’t become top-drawer chief executive officers? The world has changed and it will never go back to the way it was. Although still not optimum for the taste of feminism, things are better now. The veil of patriarchy is slowly coming down, but it is not the end of men.